Miss Merry Christmas contest Oct. 6

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Only two weeks remain in the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamberof Commerce’s search for the right Christmas-spirited teenaged girlto lead this year’s Christmas parade.

Chamber Christmas Parade Chairwoman Rita Rich said applicationsfor the 2008 Miss Merry Christmas competition are available at thechamber. The competition will be held on Oct. 6, and the deadlineto apply is Oct. 3. The competition is open to women aged 17 to 20,with some leeway.

Miss Merry Christmas’s chief duty is to don a crimson furChristmas cape and ride atop a convertible through downtownBrookhaven during the Dec. 4 Christmas parade. Besides Christmasparade duties, Miss Merry Christmas will also serve as thechamber’s ambassador for all holiday events from November until thenew year, Rich said.

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Miss Merry Christmas will have the opportunity to meet and greetindividuals and city business owners throughout the final twomonths of 2008 at events such as the chamber banquet and anychamber-sponsored business open house events, Rich said.

Rich said there are an average of 30 such open houses eachholiday season – usually held on one day. There will be plenty ofopportunities for Miss Merry Christmas to see and be seen.

“We’re looking for a young lady who demonstrates the spirit ofChristmas,” Rich said. “Someone very gracious, friendly and canmeet people, of course. Someone beautiful inside and out.”

Rich said six to eight of the county’s young women apply for thetitle each year, and there is a thorough evaluation before MissMerry Christmas is named. A pair of judges is brought in fromMcComb each year to ensure fairness in the judging, which includesa display of poise, speaking ability and a one-on-oneinterview.

“The judges have been doing this for several years, and theyknow exactly the type of person we would like for Miss MerryChristmas,” Rich said.

Rich, who has been chairing the chamber’s Christmas paradecommittee since 1992, founded the Miss Merry Christmas program inthe mid 1990s as a way of creating more interest in the paradewithout detracting from the parade itself.

“We used to have groups that sang before the parade, differententertaining groups and Santa Claus,” she said. “But some peoplewere so interested in getting to the parade they didn’t bother tohave their picture taken with Santa. Usually, there’s such a madrush in Brookhaven during parade time that it’s hard to plan anactivity and see it to fruition.

“But Miss Merry Christmas makes it a fun time,” Rich continued.”It’s just something to create interest for the parade and giveanother young lady an honor.”